On the Fringes of the Prairie, 1800-1850
Teachers Clues to the Past - Newspaper Advertisements
Alton Paper Image [35k]

Page of newspaper ads from Alton Telegraph.

What do newspaper advertisements tell us about domestic life in Illinois?

Many newspapers in the early nineteenth century were only four pages long, and often half of the text was advertisements. Ads for local merchants sometimes listed new goods in stock and indicated where the suppliers were located. Ads seldom pictured goods or gave prices. Most of the ads were for dry goods (clothing and fabrics) and hardware.

Look at these ads from the 1840 Alton Telegraph to learn the answers to the following questions.

  • Where did most of the iron goods come from?
  • How would the merchant Geo. L. Ward have preferred to be paid for his goods?
  • What will he also accept in exchange for goods?
  • How many stoves does S. Ryder & Co. have on hand?

Button Bar [8k]

© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96